Have you ever tried the classic French Potato and Leek Soup? Or Potage Parmentier, if you want to try your hand at French and sound exotic. It’s super simple to make! When you serve this at your next dinner party, please be sure to announce this dish with a French accent. 😉
This Potato and Leek (or onion) soup is based on a recipe by the great Julia Child from her iconic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.
I say “based” because….oh gee, I hope she doesn’t turn in her grave….but I actually felt that it needed a bit more flavour! The main difference is that the original recipe from her book is made with water instead of chicken broth / broth. It may well be that leeks and potatoes in France are super powered with flavour and broth is not required. Or it may be that generally, people’s palettes have evolved in the 50 years since it was first published.
I like the thought of the former – potatoes and leeks in France have super-powered flavour. 😉
Now I must admit, I made a couple of wee other changes as well….sorry Julia, I couldn’t resist! I love my readers tampering with my recipes, and I hope she feels the same too. I personally believe that cooking is all about adapting to your taste, your lifestyle, doing the best with the ingredients you can source and afford. And to me, the original recipe did not have quite as much flavour as I like.
So in addition to using chicken broth instead of water, I also sautéed the leeks in butter (original recipe just simmers the leeks with the potatoes in water) and added garlic. I feel this step really adds to the flavour of the soup because it sweetens the leeks.
Oh, and I added croutons. Because I couldn’t resist.
That’s it! I swear, they are the only changes I made! 😉
But just in case you want to be uber-authentic or you happen to have gotten your hands on the world’s most flavourful potatoes, I’ve included the changes I made in the notes in the recipe below.
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only sliced thinly (about 2 cups) (Note 1a)
- 12oz / 350g potatoes, peeled a diced into 1"/2.5cm cubes (Note 1b)
- 4 cups (1 quart/1 litre) chicken broth/stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream (or milk)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 thick slices bread, torn into crouton size pieces
- Olive oil spray
- Chives, finely chopped
- Extra cream, for garnish
- Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic and leek and sauté for 7 minutes until soft and sweet.
- Add potatoes and broth, place the lid on and simmer for 25 minutes or until potato is very soft and almost falling apart.
- Turn the stove off and puree with a stick blender until JUST smooth. Do not over puree (Note 3). Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir through cream. Use water or milk to thin the soup if it is too thick for your taste.
- Serve, drizzled with cream, sprinkled with chives and with croutons on the side.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Spray or drizzle bread with olive oil (or melted butter). Bake for 5 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Season with salt.
1b. Potato types suitable: US - Yukon Gold, Russset Australia - Dirt brushed or the common washed potatoes you can get at any supermarket. Do not use red potatoes or new potatoes i.e. the ones that you use for potato salad because they are low in starch so will not break down as much when boiling to create a creamy soup.
2. I made changes to the original recipe to increase the flavour to my taste. The main difference is that I saute the leeks in butter and add garlic, and I use chicken broth rather than water. I also increased the amount of potatoes slightly to make it a bit thicker.
If you would like to try the original recipe, here it is (half quantity):
8oz / 250g potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz / 250g leeks, white part only, sliced
4 cups / 1 quart / 1 litre water
2 to 3 tbsp cream or softened butter
1 tbsp minced chives or parsley
Directions: Simmer potatoes and leeks in water for 40 to 50 minutes until tender. Use a stick blender to puree, then stir through cream, season with salt and pepper and serve.
3. Please do not puree it for too long! Only puree it until it is just smooth. The reason is that excessive churning of potato can cause it to turn gluey. That's why I never make mashed potatoes in a food processor - it becomes sticky! It's also the reason why using a stick blender is better than using a blender for this recipe - you can control the pureeing better. If you only have a blender, I strongly urge you to mash the potato in the liquid with a potato masher first, then transfer to blender and pulse until just smooth. :)
Nutrition per serving assuming 4 servings.